By Martin Morris
Report says Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund would look at serious offers providing an attractive return.
Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), the Gulf state's sovereign wealth fund, could consider selling its 24.61 percent stake in mobile operator Zain if the price is right, local newspaper al-Rai said on Monday.
Citing unnamed sources the paper added that the KIA has no objection to discussing any offer to buy its stake in Zain whether made by Etisalat or others, under the condition that any offer would be serious and with attractive returns.
Last week the CEO of Etisalat’s international unit said the company was interested in buying a 51 percent stake in Zain.
"We are interested in Zain as a whole, given the right values," Jamal al-Jarwan told Reuters in a telephone interview. "We're looking at a 51 percent stake in Zain," he added.
Later the company backtracked, issuing a statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in which it denied reports it was looking to buy a stake in Zain.
“We would like to inform you that Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) did not present any proposal or bid to acquire a stake in Zain or any of its assets in Africa,'' the statement said.
Zain meanwhile said last week that it still hoped to sell its African unit despite French media and telecoms giant Vivendi calling off talks to buy a majority stake in the business.